Justice Department reportedly going after affirmative action programs
Proponents of affirmative action may have another battle on their hands with the New York Times reporting the Trump administration will utilize the Justice Department to investigate—and possibly even litigate against—intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions against whites.
The New York Times obtained the story from an internal DOJ job announcement seeking lawyers interested in a project on investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.
News of the investigation is fueling controversy and the ire of civil rights groups as well as former Obama education officials, all of whom have condemned the action.
However in a daily press briefing White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied the report calling it an accusatory question, she responded, “The New York Times article is based entirely on uncorroborated inferences from a leaked internal personnel posting in violation of Department of Justice policy and while the White House does not confirm or deny the existence of potential investigations the Department of Justice will always review credible allegations of discrimination on the basis of any race.”
According to the New York Times, the new effort could be used to sue universities over admissions that allegedly go too far and discriminate against white and Asian applicants.
Civil rights activists believe the move is specifically intended to target college admission programs that give an edge to Blacks and Latinos over applicants with similar academic records during the admission process.
Senator Kamala Harris called it “yet another attempt by this administration to roll back progress and divide us. Make no mistake, diversity in education makes everyone smarter. It’s a strength not a weakness.”
In a statement issued by the Congressional Black Caucus, CBC Chair, Congressman Cedric L. Richmond, said, “Attorney General Sessions continues to show us again and again who he is and what he is about.
“The New York Times report that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is planning to use taxpayer funds to expand its current assault on communities of color is more proof that our concerns were well founded. In fact, with each passing day of the Trump Administration, the CBC’s worst fears about Attorney General Sessions are quickly becoming reality.
“Instead of standing up for himself to a president who called him ‘very weak’ and ‘beleaguered,’ Attorney General Sessions has chosen to pick on minority students who are in pursuit of a college education, opportunity, and the American Dream. In doing so, he’s appealing to the lowest common denominator in our country, people who wrongly believe that minority students who benefit from efforts to promote diversity and equality are ignorant, undeserving, and unqualified.
“In Fisher v. University of Texas, the Supreme Court held that colleges and universities had a ‘lawful’ and ‘compelling interest’ in including racial diversity as a part of their mission because of the ‘educational benefits that flow from student body diversity.’ The court also held that race could be considered along with merit-based criteria in admissions decisions. Now, Attorney General Sessions wants to turn back the clock to the darker days in our history when minority students couldn’t get into the schools of their choice because of racist admissions practices.”